Should I stay or should I go?
Many students wonder if attending new student orientation is worthwhile. The summer before your first semester in college can be a busy and nerve-wracking time. You're trying to prepare yourself for the great unknown while dealing with the thoughts of being away from home for the first time in your life.
Well, summer orientation is set up to help with your transition, so here are some tips on why you should go:
- Meet new people. Heading off to college can be a scary time, and everything is less frightening when you know someone who can identify with the experience. This is your first chance to meet a person who may end up being the best man or maid-of-honor in your wedding someday. Attend as many of the social events as possible and take a risk by initiating the conversation with someone you don't know.
- Get familiar with campus. Take some time figuring out where certain important buildings are located before the rest of the student body is on campus. If you have a class schedule, walk to the buildings and if possible to the actual classroom. This will give you an idea of how much time to allow for the commute and also it will allow you to figure out the tricky buildings. It will be much less stressful to do this before the first day of class and preferably with a friend or two so you can help each other out.
- Experience dorm life. Most of the time orientations are held in dorms. This is a great time to experience what it will be like to live with a few hundred people. Understand the space constraints and make note of any items that would make your life more comfortable. Pay attention to where places like the laundry facility, parking lot, bike racks, etc. are in relation to your room. Also, pay attention to mobile phone service and your ability to send and receive messages.
- Double check. Visit enrollment services to make sure all is ok with your financial aid, housing, admissions, insurance, etc. In many cases, you can complete anything that is outstanding while you are there.
- Make note of resources. During orientation you will be exposed to many departments and resources that are available to help you succeed. Make a note of these and take some time to explore the ones that interest you. If possible, see about making a contact at the office so follow up will be easier when you need it.
- Look for a bank. Hopefully your current bank will have a location near campus, but if not—or if you need to open your first account—make note of where they are located in relation to campus. If you're in a situation where you need to make a visit complete a transaction or discuss a problem, having one that is convenient will help.
- Ask questions. Make a list of questions that you and your parents have and get some answers. Today's campuses are ever changing, so don't think any question is too basic. Something that seems as easy as "How do I see my grades?" or "How do I drop a class?" can turn out to be a daunting task. Also, the process that was described to you in a publication may not be the process today. It's better to ask and know the right answer than to assume all is correct.
New student orientation is designed to make your transition as painless as possible. Your school wants to see you succeed as much as you want to see yourself succeed. My advice is to attend orientation and make the most of it! The few days you spend on campus can make the transition away from home much easier.